Issue date: 05 December 2011
New bus services offered by UWE Bristol and Wessex Connect have led to a significant increase in passenger numbers since the new services were introduced.
Since the start of the new term, passenger figures for Wessex Red services U1-U5 are up 31% compared to the same period last year.
Services which now operate year-round have seen a 69% increase in passengers.
The timetables on Wessex Red routes provided by Bristol's universities were improved in response to feedback from local people and new routes were introduced in September to provide added choice for bus users.
The timetables on the most popular routes U2, U3 and U5 now run on a year round timetable, providing consistency for local users. Since September, the weekday bus timetables for these routes are now the same outside of university term times, making these routes an attractive option for regular bus users.
The new U7 route runs run from Frenchay Campus to Cribbs Causeway via Parkway Station and other routes now operating all year round are: U2 (UWE to City Centre via Gloucester Road); U3 (Old Market to UWE via Fishponds) and U5 (UWE to City Centre via Henleaze and Whiteladies Road).
In addition to the enhanced timetable on key routes, three new routes have been created. The new U7 route runs from Frenchay Campus to Cribbs Causeway and at peak times this is the U7A calling at Aztec West. The U8 from Bradley Stoke (starting at Woodlands Road) travels to the City Centre via the A38.
South Gloucestershire and Bristol City Councils are supporting the promotion of these services as part of the local sustainable transport fund. The funding is for projects, such as this new network of bus services, to encourage residents along key congested routes to try alternative modes of transport to driving alone in the car.
In a joint statement the two executive members for transport, Cllr Allinson from South Gloucestershire and Cllr Tim Kent from Bristol said, "We are pleased the University have supported these new services which will run continuously through the year enabling local residents to use them for commuting and leisure. We are contributing to their efforts by promoting the network to residents and businesses along the routes."
Wessex Red operates 30 vehicles at peak times, compared to 21 in 2010, and seven when the service started in 2007. Over a million passengers are carried throughout the academic year.
Speaking about the increase in passenger numbers, UWE Travel Planner Steve Ward says, “We have been able to improve our services and their reliability and this has had a positive effect on passenger numbers. There is clearly a demand for this service and by increasing it rather than shrinking it while maintaining the quality and the low cost we are providing an excellent service for our students and for local people. UWE is committed to making this transport as sustainable as possible and supporting the needs of students and the local community.”
Full details of all the services and the routes can be found at: www.wessexred.co.uk